NEW YORK – His Eminence Archbishop Geron of America Demetrios spoke exclusively to TNH about his dear friend and coworker Michael Jaharis, saying that “a very great man has departed. Mr. Jaharis was an exceptional man as American, as Hellene, as orthodox, as businessman, as a member of the Church. He had covered all these aspects with the best possible way.”
Jaharis died in February 17 at age 87 at his home surrounded by his wife, Mary, his son (Dr.) Steven, and his daughter, Kathryn.
Demetrios spoke with Jaharis four days prior to his death. The archbishop had gone to Anaheim, CA for the Dance Festival of the Metropolis of San Francisco. He was scheduled to travel from there to Arizona to attend the Leadership 100 Conference, but he received word that his friend’s health was deteriorating and he returned to New York.
Asked about how the two longtime friends met, Demetrios said “we met at some point in 1995 when the resignation of the late Archbishop Iakovos was announced and we had come with the Patriarchal Exarchy with Archbishop Stylianos of Australia and Metropolitan Demetrios of Sebasteia. Then, we met in Constantinople when we had traveled to submit our report to the patriarch, and Mr. Jaharis had gone to the Patriarchate as well.
“After that, we met when I came here by the grace of God as Archbishop of America. I asked him to be an official member of the administration of the Archdiocese, to be the vice chairman of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council, which is the highest position a layman can hold. He told me ‘let me think about it,’ because he didn’t want to have such an involvement, but he said ‘I am going to accept because we should help this Church to go forward.’ Since then, we were in communication every day. Either he would come by the Archdiocese or we would talk on the phone, and that says it all.”
Demetrios described the bond that connected them was based on “our mutual effort to have an Archdiocese as a real beacon of the light of the gospel in the best possible way, in a practical way without sketchiness and wretchedness.”
The archbishop added that Jaharis’ departure is “a great loss, because this kind of a person of high quality is difficult to be found today.”